Amazon Fire TV offers an exciting opportunity for game developers to reach more customers, by making your apps and games accessible in the living room.
This quick video will give you an overview of Amazon Fire TV. It will cover how Fire TV can help Android developers (big and small) increase their customer base, how to monetize on Fire TV, how to optimize for a 10-foot experience, and cover how to qualify for 500K Amazon Coins ($5,000 value) for promotion for each of your qualifying paid apps or apps with in-app purchasing. For more information about getting started with Amazon Fire TV, see our online documentation:
With the release of the latest version of the Amazon Appstore for Android, customers using the Amazon Appstore on Android tablets and phones have more ways to discover and purchase apps.
The Amazon Appstore for Android is continuously updated with new features that improve the customer experience and make it easier for developers to monetize their apps. Here are a few recent updates:
Amazon Coins can be purchased directly inside the Amazon Appstore for Android. Customers save up to 10% on apps, games and in-app items by purchasing Amazon Coins. Customers are shown their current Coins balance at the top of the screen as well as during checkout.
Figure 1- Available Amazon Coins displayed at top with ability to purchase at discount when clicking
Any of your apps or games that reward Amazon Coins when purchased can also be easily discovered in the Amazon Appstore for Android. Customers can search only for those apps and games that reward Amazon Coins from the navigation menu. We also feature apps and games rewarding Coins directly on the home screen.
Amazon Coins are a great way for your apps to get noticed in the Amazon Appstore. As a developer with a qualified app in the Appstore Developer Select program, customers who purchase your app will be rewarded with Amazon Coins for simply downloading your app. They can then use these Coins to buy other apps and in-app items.
Figure2- Apps and games that reward Amazon Coins can be viewed from the menu and on the main screen
Customers now get search hints whenever they’re searching for new apps and games. The title, publisher, customer rating and price are all displayed on the search hint. If a customer clicks on the button to make a purchase (Free or Paid), then more details about the app or game will be displayed, along with a “Get App” button that allows customers to immediately download your app or game.
Figure 3- Purchasing a new game directly from search
With the Amazon Appstore, customers can purchase your apps and games from a web browser, Kindle Fire tablets, Amazon Fire TV and select Android devices. Customers can find your apps and games in a variety of ways inside the Amazon Appstore.
If you have not submitted your Android app yet to the Amazon Appstore, registration is free and simple to complete and over 75% of Android tablets we tested work on Kindle Fire devices with no additional development required. Amazon also offers a free Mobile App SDK that supports In App Purchasing, Mobile Ads, A/B Testing, Analytics and more. Once your app is in the Amazon Appstore you can expand your reach to Kindle Fire and Amazon Fire TV devices at any time directly from within the developer console.
You may also want to check out these additional developer resources:
One of the questions we hear frequently from developers is which platform they should target first when building their app. Adrian Barritt, head of development at Barnstrom Games, along with his team asked the same question when planning their app The Chase. The Chase first launched in August of 2013 and was the first app that the team decided to launch in the Amazon Appstore. The app allows a team of four challengers to play against a machine to test their knowledge. When asked why they chose the Amazon Appstore, Adrian said that “the opportunity was huge, and [we] saw similar apps performing really well on the Amazon Appstore”. The team also mentioned that “it doesn’t hurt when you hear good things from others [Square Enix] and how impressed they were with the coverage they received” says Adrian.
Recently, we had the chance to sit down with Adrian to discuss how they got their app to rise to the top of the charts in the UK, and how they view their experience with Amazon Appstore. Here are some of Adrian’s observations:
“Our sales went pretty ballistic when Amazon launched Amazon Coins.” says Adrian. Amazon Coins are generally used by customers to explore and try out new apps. Customers can get Amazon Coins in a variety of ways such as purchasing or earning Coins for free. Developers can really benefit from this since there are a lot of customers waiting to use up their Coins on different apps. Barnstorm Games specifically saw their app benefit from this.
“Our sales went up 10-fold (1000%) for about a week during the Amazon Coins promotion when Amazon gave away a vast amount of Coins to their customers. Even after the promotion we saw a 500% increase in sales from what we used to get.”- Adrian Barritt
Part of Adrian’s strategy is understanding when consumers usually purchase apps. The team made sure that their app would be ready for launch before the holidays. As a result the team saw a “2000% increase on Christmas Day compared to our average sales we usually get per day”. Since then, the team continues to see a consistent increase of 200-300% in sales after the Coins promotion ended and is now consistently ranked among the top 3 apps in the UK.
“We are more than happy with our performance in the Amazon Appstore and our expectations have been exceeded” – Adrian Barritt
One of the goals for Barnstorm was to expand their app onto more platforms. Since the team initially built their app on the Kindle Fire, they knew that Android would be a natural transition. So how was the process for transitioning the app over to Android? “The transition for creating an Android version was very easy since Kindle Fire was just designed that way.” says Adrian. You may recall that 75% of Android tablet apps that we tested just work on Kindle Fire with no additional development needed so it’s not surprising that Adrian said that “there was no additional work needed beyond supporting GameCircle and thinking what services to use. Other than that it was very simple.”
“Even though we are on Google Play as well now, the majority of the time the Amazon Appstore still performs better than Google Play in terms of revenue”.
One service that Barnstorm is using to increase customer engagement is the GameCircle API. “With GameCircles’s achievement feature, it’s definitely helped us retain and engage our users” says Adrian. The team uses achievements to mark how well players are performing against others in “The Chase”, which has really improved average session length. After seeing the success with GameCircle, Adrian is currently looking into more services such as Amazon’s Device Messaging API to engage the audience even more by pushing out notifications to them.
The team has a new app that they just released in the Amazon Appstore called Tipping Point. The app is already topping the charts in the UK as well and the team has high hopes for it. Barnstorm also just participated in Amazon’s Free App of the Day program as well, helping them get even more exposure to customers.
Learn more about the tools used by Barnstorm Games
Last year, we launched Amazon Coins in the US, UK, and Germany. As of today, Amazon Coins are available to even more customers in Europe as we are expanding the program to France, Spain, and Italy. We’re giving millions of Euros (100 Coins = €1) worth of coins to customers in France, Italy, and Spain, so this is a great time to submit new apps to the Amazon Appstore and ensure your existing apps are available for distribution in these countries.
Amazon Coins allows Amazon customers to buy and enjoy Android apps and in-app items at a discount, with savings of up to 10%. As a developer, you are paid whether your apps or in-app items have been purchased with Amazon Coins or another payment method, and you’ll continue to get your full 70% revenue share. Since the launch of Amazon Coins in the US, UK, and Germany, customers have already purchased hundreds of millions of Amazon Coins and are actively using them on Android phones and tablets, including Kindle Fire devices, representing real dollars to developers.
Kindle Fire owners will receive 500 free Coins automatically in their accounts and, for a limited time, users of the Amazon Appstore on Android phones and tablets will receive 500 Coins once they’ve updated the client and downloaded an app. During the promotion, you’ll have additional opportunities to boost your sales while customers enjoy buying apps with their free Coins. We ran a similar promotion after we launched Coins in the US, UK, and Germany, and developers gave us positive feedback about the monetization they achieved in conjunction with the promotion. Here’s what a few of them had to say:
“Sales went up 10-fold (1000%) for about a week during the Amazon Coins promotion and 500% afterwards.” –Barnstorm Games
“We saw a significant increase in revenue after the Amazon Coins announcement. Revenue from Amazon Coins during the launch week was higher than previous week’s revenue. What was also interesting is that our cash receipts also saw a lift from Coins.” — Halfbrick Studios Pty Ltd
“Our SMS texting and calling app revenues grew more than 300% on Kindle Fire the day after Amazon Coins went live, with a staggering 78% coming from Coins. We’re convinced that this virtual currency makes sense for developers no matter what category their app is in; it certainly does for us.” — textPlus, Inc.
We continue to receive positive feedback from developers about the monetization they see on Amazon and their ability to connect with new customers via Amazon Appstore. Learn what developers like Pixowl, TuneIn, and Toca Boca have to say in our latest developer blog.
To benefit from Amazon Coins, you do not need to integrate an API. If your apps are already available on the Amazon Appstore and available for distribution to customers in France, Italy, and Spain, you’re already set. If you have new apps and games that are still in development, then you’ll want to submit them soon to take advantage of this promotion. If you have a new Android app, we’ve found that 75% of Android apps we’ve tested just work on Amazon Appstore, with no coding changes required. Test your APK in less than 10 minutes with our drag-and-drop testing tool. It’s also a good idea to ensure your apps are available in France, Italy, and Spain, which you can check from your account on the developer portal.
Founded in 2011 Pixowl, Inc is a mobile games developer headquartered in San Francisco, CA. With the success of its four iOS games, The Sandbox, Greedy Grub, Doodle Grub and Safari Party, Pixowl has made a name for itself in casual mobile games. Their game, The Sandbox, is a unique world-building and crafting game in 2D with touch controls and access to over 150+ physics elements. Players can craft amazing worlds, create pixel art, chiptune music, electric circuits or just play with physics.
I had a chance to sit down with Sebastien Borget, COO and Co-Founder at Pixowl and ask him about Pixowl’s experiences porting The Sandbox to the Kindle Fire, what type of success Pixowl has seen in the Amazon Appstore, and what it was like implementing many of the APIs available in the Amazon Mobile App SDK.
“We have built with Amazon an improved version of The Sandbox which is deeply integrated with Amazon’s GameCircle service for a more seamless experience on Kindle Fire.” – Sebastien, Pixowl
Pixowl was able to submit The Sandbox early on in the Amazon Appstore’s launch. “We were present at an event organized by Amazon UK to present other developers success stories on the Amazon Appstore. While it was still in an early stage of maturity we were really impressed by the performance the apps had already seen there. This convinced us we had to be among the early movers and adopt a cross-platform strategy fitted for each partner. Now, we couldn’t be happier about this decision as the Amazon team has held all of its promises and has been over achieving for us.” recalls Sebastien.
For the Kindle Fire version of The Sandbox, Pixowl decided to integrate Amazon GameCircle allowing a more seamless experience. GameCircle is a free, cross-platform API from Amazon that provides everything you need to implement achievements, leaderboards, and saved game syncing across any device, regardless of mobile platform. Once you integrate GameCircle, customers can play and interact with other gamers across any mobile device.
“Amazon is proving that Android users could be as engaged with games as on other platforms and made it worth considering alternative distributions models, with a huge revenue potential.” – Sebastien, Pixowl
“For us, the decision making process was relatively easy. On a business perspective, we wanted to make sure that the platform had enough of our core audience: kids and casual players, from 5 years old to 20+ . On the technical side, we had to check what level of compatibility with existing Kindle models was, evaluate the adaptations required and make sure we could provide the best game experience on the devices.” says Sebastien.
Pixowl already had an existing Android version of The Sandbox so moving to the Amazon Appstore was relatively quick. “The overall porting process took us 2 weeks maximum including development and testing. We are developing in C++ with Cocos2DX and everything worked almost seamlessly.” says Sebastien.
The Sandbox follows the “freemium” monetization model; a free download to all Amazon customers the games utilizes Amazon’s In-App Purchasing API to unlock additional campaigns of level or acquire elements faster.
The API offers a completely Amazon hosted checkout experience to customers and integrates fully with their Amazon account. They can choose to utilize their 1-Click purchase settings as well as Amazon Coins which now work on both Android and Kindle Fire devices.
According to Pixowl the Amazon Appstore represents 5% of the total downloads volume from all Android marketplaces, but over 20% of their total Android revenues. Some days, it’s could be as high as 50%! “That’s very close to the performance we’re seeing with Apple iOS!” says Sebastien.
According to Pixowl Amazon is proving that Android users can be as engaged with games as on other platforms. It made it worth Pixowl considering alternative distributions models, with a huge revenue potential. “Success is no longer determined just by the amount of downloads, but by their quality. Go for the full experience with Amazon. It’s really worth it!” says Sebastien.
It’s been three months since we launched Amazon Coins, and we’re already seeing quite a bit of customer and developer excitement around the new virtual currency.
At launch, we distributed 500 Amazon Coins to every Kindle Fire customer in the US to purchase apps, games and in-app items in the Amazon Appstore and on Kindle Fire. The customer reaction has been great. Customers already spent hundreds of millions of Amazon Coins, representing real dollars to developers, who still received their 70% revenue share.
Here are some results from real developers:
“We saw a significant increase in revenue after the Amazon Coins announcement. Revenue from Amazon Coins during the launch week was higher than previous week’s revenue. What was also interesting is that our cash receipts also saw a lift from Coins.”
— Halfbrick Studios Pty Ltd
“Amazon Coins accounted for more than half of our sales for the week of May 13th, which means our customers chose Coins two-to-one over cash. Our total weekly sales were also significantly higher after the launch of Amazon Coins.”
“Our SMS texting and calling app revenues grew more than 300% on Kindle Fire the day after Amazon Coins went live, with a staggering 78% coming from Coins. We’re convinced that this virtual currency makes sense for developers no matter what category their app is in; it certainly does for us.”
— textPlus, Inc.
Halfbrick, PepiPlay and textPlus are just a few examples of developers already benefiting from Amazon Coins. In fact, for almost half of developers who monetized their Amazon apps using Coins, weekly revenue jumped more than 50% after the announcement.
As significant, the percentage of Amazon Coins spent on indie developer apps outpaced cash spent on the same segment. For some indie developers, Coins already account for the majority of their revenue.
These early signs show that customers are willing to use their Coins to try out and explore a new apps, games and in-app items. We don’t expect this trend to stop anytime soon. We recently introduced a new offer to Kindle Fire owners in the US. Every customer is now able to earn even more Amazon Coins when they buy select games.
Now is a great time for developers to submit their apps to the Amazon store and it’s easy to get started. Submit your apps today and take advantage of Amazon Coins.
Amazon has started distributing Amazon Coins, which can be used to buy Kindle Fire apps and In-App Purchasing (IAP) items (except subscriptions). Starting today, every U.S. Kindle Fire owner is getting 500 coins ($5) to spend on apps, games, and IAP items. Customers will also be able to buy more coins from Amazon at a bulk discount of up to 10%. As customers use their coins, you will have the opportunity to make money and monetize your Kindle Fire app.
If you don’t have an app for sale on Amazon yet, it’s easy to get started. Based on our testing, over 75% of Android apps submitted to us work on the Kindle Fire, without any additional development required.